Once again the Frenchman denies the Lions, who got back into the game after a superb goal by Sancet
Athletic Club lost 1-2 at San Mamés against Real Madrid on Wednesday night. In an almost identical manner to what happened three weeks ago at the Santiago Bernabeu, Karim Benzema was the Lions’ executioner.
On this occasion, the French striker left Athletic with a mountain to climb after scoring a brace in the first six minutes. Oihan Sancet pulled one back for home side with a beauty of a strike in the 10th minute and Athletic threw everything at Real Madrid, dominating the next 80 minutes of play as they sought an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be.
Marcelino’s men got off to a bad start and paid dearly for it. Benzema’s genius, with a first-time curling shot from Toni Kroos’ pass, put Carlo Ancelotti’s men ahead. Before the Lions could recover they were 0-2 down, the Frenchman taking advantage of a loose ball in the box.
Athletic seemed down and out by Sancet restored their hope with a powerful shot that smashed off Thibaut Courtois’ post before hitting the back of the net.
Los Rojiblancos controlled possession from here until the half-time whistle, but chances were few and far between as Real Madrid retreated into their own half under pressure.
In the 60th minute, Sancet stole a ball and before laying up Iñaki Williams, but the latter’s side-footed attempted just went wide of Courtois’ near post for his shot to go just wide.
With five minutes left on the clock, Iñaki put his brother through with a precise pass, but Nico couldn’t quite lift the ball over Courtois as the keeper rushed out of his goal.
The Lions gave it their all, and Julen was forced into action to save from Jovic when Madrid hit on the counter. Despite the Lions’ efforts, the LaLiga Santander leaders took all three points and Benzema received a standing ovation from San Mamés when he was substituted.